Hello, my hungry friends!
Today I’m excited to share with you how to prepare this delectable feast, featuring a succulent and expertly flavored steak, sautéed collard greens, classic and beloved pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and sweet fried plantains served with a fizzy, popular Brazilian cherry drink.
I’ve visited Brazil on two separate occasions and now count myself as a part of the Brazilian family, as my husband’s family is from Brazil originally. On my visits, I was impressed with the simplicity of the food, the frequency of gathering around food, and how the food was simultaneously delicious but never upstaged the people, stories, singing, and laughter that characterize this friendly and warm culture. Meals featured some form of delicious grilled meat, known as churrasco, salad, and maybe a sweet brigadeiro -a chocolate bonbon- or biscoito and cafezinho-a cookie and a little coffee– which was always ok to drink at any hour to extend a chat.
Coffee. Any time of day, and enjoyed with friends and family. Coffee-lovers, you fit right into the Brazilian culture!
Did you know Brazil is the #1 world producer of coffee? I didn’t. And while I mainly enjoy my coffee in a mug (or cup on the go), I have been developing a taste for beans from different parts of the world, much like with wine or chocolate tasting. Atlas Coffee Club is a subscription service for coffee connoisseurs or those who want to get gourmet coffee experiences from around the world delivered to them.
Everyone who likes coffee has their coffee preferences. Some like it sweet, some like it iced, some like it creamy, some like it bitter. Regardless of your preference, it helps to have an idea of how to treat coffee beans right so that their flavors shine, and you’re left smiling instead of grimacing after guzzling down the morning joe. As a perk of being a part of this coffee of the month club, you have the resource of this handy little guide . French press got your tongue? This will show you how to fix a perfect cup of coffee based on the flavor profile of your beans.
Starbucks and Peets or your Keurig may be a few steps away, but sometimes, brewing your own steaming cup and learning about it (I’m a forever student…. I admit 🙋🏻) is cool too. They sent me beans from Brazil to try with a nutty hazelnut cocoa profile. I thought the earthy notes would be striking for a steak. Thought to reality, and boom – a meal was born.
I was delighted to team up with Atlas Coffee Club to develop a delicious recipe to make this Brazilian coffee into a flavorful steak rub. Serving a steak alone, on a plate, is far from protocol in the BlueBootsGo kitchen, so I added a few sides to complete this yummy cultural journey that you can try out at home. It is more fun, and easier if you cook with a friend or family member, so I recommend that too.
🇧🇷Bemvindo a Brasil! 🇧🇷
First things first. Gather your ingredients and cooking tools.
You will need:
- Cast iron pan
- Your oven and stovetop
- Heat-resistant tongs
- small bowls – such as pinch bowls
- Marinade dish – like a glass Pyrex
- Chopping board and knives
- Prep bowls
- meat thermometer
- aluminum foil
- ingredients for all dishes: a stick of butter, salt grinder, peppercorn grinder.
*ingredients specific to each dish are listed within their sections.
Right this way, allow me to walk you through this experience.
Bird’s eye view:
- First, preheat the oven to 450F. You will finish the steak in the oven, and it takes time to get the oven to temperature.
- Make the steak rub and massage the rub into the steak until thoroughly coated and impressed into the meat. Let the rubbed meat rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Prepare the collard greens and plantains first. Cover, and keep warm.
- Prepare (or pop the frozen Pão de queijo) into the oven.
- Cook the steak on the stovetop in the cast iron pan, and finish in the oven.
- Prepare the beverage and plate the dish.
- Invite your friends and family, and enjoy!
I. Samba Steak
the samba steak rub
- 4 tablespoons of ground Brazil Cerrado Mineiro coffee beans, available here.
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- a few generous twists of ground peppercorns
- Other ingredients: you will need your selected cut of steak, and also butter, salt, and a fresh sprig of rosemary to flavor the butter
For the cut of the steak, I used a half a pound of both a boneless sirloin strip steak and a filet mignon. The amount of this rub is sufficient for 1 pound of steak.
Once you make this and mix it in a small bowl, empty the contents of the bowl into the marinade dish.Grind salt over the meat, not being too careful. Massage the steak with the rub until the meat has been thoroughly impressed with the rub. Let rest for at least 10 minutes while you prep other ingredients.
>>>>Return here once your sides are completed and you’re ready to cook the steak!
Cooking the Samba Steak
In a cast iron pan, bring to high heat. Add in 3 tablespoons of butter. You can use salted or unsalted, I used unsalted so that I could control the salt in other parts of the preparation. Add in the spines of the sprig of rosemary and let the aroma rise.
Once the butter is melted, and before it begins to burn, sear each flat side of the steak for 30 seconds. Tilt and spoon herbed butter in the pan over the steak. Using a timer is helpful. Sear the edges of the steak all around for about 30 seconds each. This seals in the juices.
Your oven should be preheated now, so pop the steak in the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steak. Check the temperature. 2 minutes more. Check the temperature. A nice medium rare is what we are aiming for here, and if you take the steak out when it is about 135-140F, then let it rest under a square of aluminum foil for 2 minutes, the hero of the dish should be ready!
II. Pão de queijo
When it comes to Brazilian cheesy bread, these bites of savory, airy deliciousness are easy to make. They’re a delicacy and an instant foray into Brazilian feasting culture. They’re ever so slightly chewy, gluten free, made from tapioca flour – an added plus if you have dietary sensitivities.
You can make it from scratch, using this simple recipe from my mother-in-law.
Pão de queijo – 25 minutes. Makes about a full mini muffin tin
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- a scant 1.5 cup (or 170 grams) of tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup packed (~66 grams) grated cheese – queso fresco/mexican farmer’s cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Grease mini muffin tins
- put all ingredients in the blender and pulse until smooth, scraping the sides of the blender as needed intermittently.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until puffy and lightly browned
Or, use a mix, such as this inexpensive Yoki mix you may find at ethnic food stores, or on Amazon.
Or, even purchase frozen bread bites that are ready to pop in the oven. I found these at Whole Foods and they tasted just like the other two but were infinitely simple.
III. Sweet and garlicky Brazilian collard greens – 15 minutes. Difficulty: Easy.
Traditionally, these collard greens are enjoyed simply, but I enjoy the sweetness of a fresh cooked tomato (with the added benefit of lycopene, released when tomatoes are cooked) with the crunch of this vegetable dish.
- 4-5 leaves of collard greens
- one tomato on the vine
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 of a red onion
- 3 tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed)
- 1/2 tsp of paprika to finish
- fresh squeeze of lemon juice
To prepare these, wash collard greens. Cut stalks off. Then, stack leaves and roll lengthwise to form a cigar-like shape. Working from one end to the other, make narrow slices of this roll.
Heat pan to medium heat and add oil, garlic, and onion. Once the aroma of the garlic and onions is present, add the collard greens and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté the mixture until collard greens look wet and darker, add tomatoes, and cover for 5 more minutes or so to steam.
Remove from pan, sprinkle paprika, squeeze lemon juice, and it is ready!
IV. Fried sweet plantains. 15 minutes. Difficult: Easy
- 2 ripe plantains
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
Slice plantains about 1 cm thick and toss in a large bowl with brown sugar. Let rest briefly. Heat pan to medium-high heat, add butter, and caramelize the plantains. Check on them to see that they’re browning and sticky before flipping, about 2 minutes per side. The cook should take about 5-10 minutes.
V. Fizzy Guarana and cherries
Summer is a month for cherries, with a perfect crisp exterior and juicy, flavorful interior. Guarana is a kind of Brazilian cherry soda, and to elevate this popular beverage, chopping fresh cherries and allowing the fizz to extract more cherry flavor makes this a fresh accompaniment to the meal.
Plate the food- here I bring my Caribbean tablecloth with a Portuguese napkin to make it fun.
sophisticated blue+white patterned plate c/o 222Fifth in Sydney Blue.
I hope that you enjoyed this post, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments and share this post on social! Friends who cook together (or cook for each other) stay together! 😉
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